• City pulls back on Central underpass landmark designation
  • He worked as a roofer, but popular demand led to a beef jerky store near Old Town
  • Detective DAN: What's the deal with lousy cell reception in the Old Town area?
City pulls the plug on Central underpass landmark designation
In the end, they decided to settle for a plaque or a sign.

Planners had sent word to area neighborhood associations late last month that they would seek to make the Central underpass an official city landmark, a designation that usually amounts to both an informal celebration of the structure in question and a more formal legal roadblock that can delay any attempts at major renovation or demolition. Past honorees have included the KiMo and the Barelas Community Center.

The proposal had met with considerable skepticism, but before people had a chance to voice it at last week's ABQ Core Neighborhood Association meeting, city officials broke some news: The effort to seek landmark status was over.

The intention was never to do anything that might impede future changes to the underpass, said Leslie Naji, the city's historic preservation planner, but concern over people thinking that anyway led them to pull back from the project. (The city itself is considering modifying the underpass with a pedestrian crossing at the level of the railroad tracks - DAN, 11/21/22). 

The plan instead is to put up some sort of plaque or sign explaining the significance of the underpass, which separated auto traffic from the then-busier railroad after its competition in 1937.

"It is a significant structure in that regard," Naji said. "That will be our historic contribution and acknowledgment of the underpass."

She concluded her presentation at The Box Performance Space - to a larger-than-usual crowd of about 40 - by characterizing the new plan as "pretty harmless."

The remark drew a round of applause.

In a related story, Naji's department is seeking landmark status for an entirely different piece of Central infrastructure: The bridge over the Rio Grande. An informational meeting on the matter will be held on January 30 at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom (link). Organizers ask that attendees RSVP to
He worked as a roofer, but popular demand led to beef jerky store near Old Town
Flavors at Sena's Beef Jerky include mango habanero, lemon pepper, butter mesquite, and this homage to Breaking Bad made with blue corn chips and teriyaki sauce. Courtesy photo
Making beef jerky was just something Anthony Sena did with his father - an occasional joint hobby and fun way to pass the time. But after his father died in 2013, Sena took it to the next level.

"When I was going through his stuff I ran across his old dehydrator," he said.

Sena, a roofer by trade, started making jerky again and gave the results to friends and family. Hundreds of pounds later, "everyone was wanting it and it was kind of hard to keep up," he said.

And thus Sena's Beef Jerky was born.

The first attempt at finding a storefront ended in failure - "a blessing in disguise," Sena reckons, given that he had planned to open in January of 2020. But last year, he ran across the building located roughly in front of the Central and Rio Grande Walgreens (a former Subway). He opened in September, roofing career firmly in the rear-view mirror.

So far, despite having to deal with the usual unpleasant security incidents that life on Central tends to fling at merchants, the experience has been a good one. Besides having the time to keep up with the demands of friends and family, the storefront also presents a chance to expand the repertoire beyond the usual chile or salt-and-pepper suspects.

"Since we've been here we've kind of doubled up on the flavors," Sena said.

The top five, he reckons, are as follows: Red chile raspberry teriyaki, hot Cheetos, green chile pineapple habanero, Breaking Bad (pictured above), and that old standby, lemon pepper.
Detective DAN: What's the deal with lousy cell reception in the Old Town area?
Alert Reader Patrick writes in to ask:

Are you hearing anything about a lack of cell service Downtown? Sometimes I drive east on New York Avenue toward Rio Grande and I have no service. I have Verizon. My girlfriend has AT&T and is having the same issues. I've also heard from several other folks in the Old Town area and elsewhere Downtown about suddenly cell service getting spotty. In the last few weeks, I've been having dropped calls and I've been cutting in and out during calls to my apartment, where I work from home (near Old Town). I have to get up and walk outside if I want to make sure to hear everything a person is saying.

Patrick is definitely not alone. We've spoken with several other people in the Old Town area - including a T-Mobile user - who have had the same problems with lousy reception and dropped calls. Some reported that it was particularly bad inside of Old Town adobe buildings. The problems, it seems, started cropping up in a big way in August.

So what's going on? 

Verizon, for one, says they are on it. Communications Manager Heidi Flato reports that "we are aware of some coverage and capacity challenges in this area and have work underway to improve the performance over the next year."

AT&T, meanwhile, said in a statement that it is not aware of any problems:

At this time, our wireless network is operating normally in the Old Town area. Customers currently experiencing issues with their service can reach us at, on the myAT&T app or over the phone at 800-288-2020.

...and T-Mobile didn't return a message seeking comment.
ECHO meeting spotlights Downtown parking garages
The discussion will feature officials from the city's Department of Municipal Development, which administers a few of them. The meeting will happen Thursday at 1 p.m. and details are here.
Downtown Albuquerque News covers Downtown, Old Town, and surrounding neighborhoods. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. If someone forwarded DAN to you, please consider subscribing. Click here to subscribe, contact us, submit a letter to the editor, or learn more about what we do. If you ever run into technical trouble receiving DAN, click here.
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